Introducing a special edition of our column CAMBIE At Home, an interview series that explores the rituals we create at home, how we interact with our space and build an environment to support our lifestyle. Today's feature focuses on finding comfort at home while living in quarantine during this globally collective time of uncertainty.
Tara and I first met during the early years of running our shops. We were both taking part in a pop-up in the Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto and I immediately fell in love with Tara's offerings. To this day, Health Hut, Tara's beautifully curated shop of all natural goods, remains my go-to for personal care items. I have had the pleasure of watching Health Hut evolve over the years into an inspiring community and learning hub, highlighting local independent makers while educating her audience with regular events and workshops.
I asked Tara to share how she is adjusting her routine at home. Her insights are real, optimistic and reassuring, and I particularly love that, even after five years, Tara sees her home as an exciting endless project, renovating and decorating at a pace that feels right to her. It is an honour to feature Tara and get a glimpse into her home life, a refreshing space full of personal touches. I hope you enjoy reading her contribution as much as I have!
What's your favourite way to use your home?
I like to use my home as a place to comfort and inspire me. I have tried to create a space that is calm and relaxing, as well as reflective of who I am. I love displaying the books we've read, photos of family and friends and the places we've visited together, wines we're collecting and little things that can instantly bring back fond memories. No matter what I am doing, cooking, working, reading - I love to be surrounded by beauty and nostalgia.
Where are you most happy?
I would say I am most happy in the kitchen, cooking for friends. We live in an old house built in 1888, so when we moved in, the kitchen was totally separate from the dining and living space. My husband is a contractor and was able to take down the wall and renovate the space to make it open and great for having people over. One of the things that I have found challenging during this time is not opening up our house to our friends and family. I'm dreaming of the meal we'll all have together when things go back to normal.
How did you begin to set up your space? Where did you start?
So we've lived in our home for almost five years now and it has been one endless project, in the best way! We started off living on the main floor (with our bedroom in the dining room) and used the top two floors as an Airbnb. After a year or so of that, and one too many midnight wake ups, we decided to convert the space back to a single home. We're constantly moving things, there is always a project on the go and the house is half painted, but it's our pace and there is something exciting about that.
What are your favourite items to surround yourself with at home at this time?
My pets! We have two cats and a dog and at least one of them is always by my side.
How are you coping?
It's a strange time. I am a person who absolutely loves being home, but I am really missing the joy and pleasure I get from being in my shop and the people that visit it. I try not to think about that too much, and have been taking a lot more baths, cooking a lot more pasta and just being kind to myself when I'm feeling out of balance.
What routine is bringing you comfort at this time?
I am still trying to figure out the before 7pm routine, but once I close my computer, pour myself a glass of wine and start cooking dinner I definitely start to feel a sense of comfort and calm. Life as a small business owner (especially in these times) is unconventional and can pull you in lots of directions. I think taking time away from the chaos in the evenings has been really helpful in keeping me positive, grounded and ready to take it all on again the next day.
Thank you Tara! Tara has carried a small selection of CAMBIE rugs, cushions and blankets in her shop over the years and it brings such joy to see a few of our pieces throughout her home. We greatly look forward to the day when we can enjoy shopping in the Health Hut space again and encourage you to browse Tara's shop online and follow HH on Instagram in the meantime.
We hope to feature more small businesses that are particularly dear to our hearts over the coming weeks in hopes of keeping our community strong through challenging times. As it always has been, your support is greatly appreciated.
All photography courtesy of Tara Miller.